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புதன், டிசம்பர் 24, 2008

How to prepare for meetings

If there is one activity that unites professionals from different occupations all over the world, it is meetings. Executives, managers, or software developers -- they all spend a large part of their working hours closeted in conference rooms discussing issues, significant and insignificant.

But the truth about meetings is they are largely a waste of time if not organised well or not planned in advance. Here are some tips to help you get the best out of these congregations.
Time and venue 
The initiator of the meeting must take up the task of sending out meeting requests to all parties who are required to attend, specifying the date, time and venue. If the meeting is a teleconference or a videoconference with participants from multiple locations, it is essential that the meeting request contain the date and time of the various time zones.
This is a common mistake, as a colleague in Tokyo found out when she forgot to specify the time zone in her e-mail, which meant that disparate groups of people were waiting for her to teleconference them at different times of the day!
The initiator must ensure a discussion room or conference room large enough to hold the requisite number of attendees is booked for the scheduled time.
It is also up to the initiator to arrange for any materials such as a projector, computer, slides, handouts, or even just a whiteboard and markers. A manager at a telecommunications firm narrates how a meeting he was invited to was delayed by 45 minutes because the computer and projectors were not set up, leading to senior managers walking out and requesting a reschedule.

If you are invited to a meeting for which handouts are distributed, make sure you read those notes before attending. It will keep you in tune with the discussions once you are part of the meeting, and will demonstrate your preparedness with ideas and thoughts on the topic at hand.
Once the time and venue of the meeting is fixed, it is vital that the initiator of the meeting decide the points on the agenda. Each of these points must be covered in detail and decisions taken on them before the meeting wraps up.

Preferably, these points can even be enumerated in brief on the whiteboard in the room, allowing everyone to be aware of the agenda and helping the initiator keep an eye on it at all times.
Minutes of the meeting 
In the duration of the meeting, several points and ideas will be thrown up which, if not documented, will evaporate into thin air well before the end. It will be impossible for anyone to retain all the discussed points in memory. Therefore, it is best for the initiator or the meeting-in-charge to appoint one person to jot down notes during the meeting. It is better still if two or three people take notes just in case one misses out something important.
At the culmination of the meeting, it is the duty of the person assigned to note down the minutes to create a document and circulate it amongst all attendees. Such a document typically contains the date and time of the meeting, number and names of attendees, the agenda and, against each of the points on the agenda, the action items.
The focus on agenda 
Often, despite maintaining an agenda and adhering strictly to time and schedule on a few points, the discussion deteriorates into heated debates. At this point, it is the prerogative of the meeting-in-charge or the initiator to ensure an objective discussion. Also, if a member starts rambling for hours without any end in sight, he must be brought back on track. It should be made clear that although brainstorming is acceptable, digression into irrelevant territory is entirely unwelcome.
When all points on the agenda have been discussed to the satisfaction of all parties, the person writing the minutes or even the initiator can wrap up by briefly reading out the salient points of all that has been discussed, including action to be taken once people return to their work. The minutes of the meeting is a good starting point to follow up with team members in the following days if necessary action has been taken, as discussed.


NEW DELHI: Sweat it out, aim for the moon, and you’ll end up a star, says India’s space chief. The country’s first lunar astronaut needn’t be a rocket scientist or a pilot, but anyone who is “young, physically active, healthy, and with a terrific spirit of adventure”, according to G Madhavan Nair, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro). “The shortlisting of the candidate will start three years prior to the mission,” Mr Nair told ET in an exclusive chat about Isro’s Mission 2015, the space agency's ambitious manned mission to the moon.Enough time for aspirants to build up endurance and work on those biceps. With Chandrayaan-1 firmly in lunar orbit and Isro’s successful launch of multiple satellites — 10 in one go — early this year, completing a great year of launches, the national space agency is now looking at bigger missions, he said. With its established credentials as a provider of low-cost access to space, Bangalore-based ISRO also sees itself in a unique position to get into the business of launching satellites for other countries, apart from developing an array of rocket components and satellite sub-systems for global customers, a $10-billion opportunity globally. Besides its own missions in 2009, ISRO will be launching satellites for Singapore, Italy, Algeria and a clutch of so called nano-satellites for the Netherlands on its proven Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). To play a bigger role in space activities, ISRO is hiring more people and expanding its infrastructure while its commercial arm, Antrix Corporation, is targeting a revenue of Rs 1,000 crore next year. Much of this will come from services like providing Global Positioning System (GPS) applications, direct-to-home (DTH) TV services, telecom, launch of satellites and development of rocket sub-systems.Over the next few years, ISRO will also be focusing on emerging as a bigger player in the space mission launch market. The area it has an edge over other countries is in its capability to do low-cost launches and development of control and propulsion systems. Last week, ISRO for the first time designed and built a satellite — W2M — for Eutelsat, the European satellite operator, at a cost of $80 million. 

“It’s a $130-billion global market with 80% being accounted for by services and $10 billion being spent on satellites and launch vehicle systems. With our successful launches this year, we have built market credibility and demonstrated reliability. The more successful launches we do (with bigger and heavier satellites), the bigger market share we will get,” said KR Sridhara Murthi, managing director, Antrix Corporation.The W2M satellite, at 3.46 tonnes, is the heaviest built by ISRO so far and the space agency made a profit of $40 million on it. India's Department of Space — ISRO is the largest organisation under it — has a manpower of 16,000 out of which 11,000 are scientists and engineers. ISRO will be hiring 300 scientists next year, Mr Nair said. “High bandwidth satellites capable of micro-wave imaging and new exploratory missions are much sought after worldwide. However much depends on investment in infrastructure and HR,” he said on the sidelines of CII's felicitation of ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 team. As more countries seek to put satellites for applications spanning DTH, GPS, telecom and education, ISRO’s launch services — which cost 60-70% cheaper than costs of similar services by western nations — could also help boost India's own commercial space programme.

Kakodkar, ISRO chief bag Bharat Asmita awards

Atomic Energy Commission chairman Dr Anil Kakodkar and ISRO head G Madhavan Nair will be given Bharat Asmita National Awards instituted by the Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) group of institutions.

Maharashtra Institute of Technology gives away Bharat Asmita awards for different categories every year.

This year the main awards will be given to Kakodkar and Nair.

While Bharat Asmita Jan Jagaran Shreshtha award will be conferred on Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghtan, the Bharat Asmita Jana Pratinidhi Shreshtha award will be given to MP Bhavana Gawali. Director of IIM Calcutta Shekhar Choudhari will be awarded with the Bharat Asmita Acharya Shreshtha Award.

The main two awards consist of Rs 1 lakh, memento and citation, while the other awards consist of Rs 25,000, memento and citation.

The award will be distributed by Mohammad Hamid Ansari, the Vice President of India.

The award ceremony will be held on February 3, at Teen Murti Bhavan, New Delhi.

ISRO’s proposal for manned mission submitted to Govt

‘Well done’: (From left) The ISRO Chairman, Mr Madhavan Nair; the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Mr Vayalar Ravi; and the past President of CII, Mr S.K. Munjal; at a special session on felicitation of Chandrayaan Team I organised by CII in the Capital on Wednesday.

New Delhi, Dec. 24 The success of the Chandrayaan-1 is now going to be a stepping stone for India’s space science team which has its eyes set on Mars.

A report for ISRO’s plans for a manned mission into space has been submitted to the Government, said Dr G. Madhavan Nair, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space. The three-manned mission is expected to take off in 2015. Before that ISRO hopes to get a lander on the moon and collect material, including scientifically rich minerals for study.

At an event organised by CII to felicitate the various scientific and research agencies of the country, that along with ISRO made the moon mission such a success, Dr Nair said, “Where Space science was concerned, India was no longer a developing country. …Now developed countries are buying spacecraft from India.” In a year that saw moon missions from Europe, China and Japan take off, India’s mission was also noticed for the comprehensive range of instruments it took on board.

The success of the lunar mission had made the country proud, and highlighted the huge service that ISRO had been doing for the country since so long, said Mr Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs. According to Dr Nair, although there was a certain brain drain that happened from India, many scientists like those at ISRO worked for the technical challenges that projects like the moon mission offered. The Government has taken note of the remuneration of researchers and scientists at least at ISRO and institutes under the Department of Atomic Energy, said Dr Nair.

ISRO’s Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) would also introduce its first batch of students who would soon contribute to India’s scientific community, added Dr Nair.

Among those felicitated today were Dr K. Radhakrishnan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre; Dr M.Y.S. Prasad, Associate Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre – SHAR; Dr V. Jayaraman, Director, National Remote Sensing Agency; and Mr K.R. Sridharamurthy, Managing Director, Antrix Corporation. Mr M.K.G. Nair, Director of Liquid Propulsion System Centre; Mr P.S. Veeraraghavan, Director, ISRO Inertial Systems Unit at Trivandrum; Mr S.K. Shivkumar, Director, ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC); Mr A Bhaskaranarayana, Director, Satellite Communication Programme/Scientific Secretary, ISRO; Dr T.G.K. Murthy, Programme Director, ASP, ISRO Satellite Centre, Mr A.S. Kiran Kumar, DD, SEDA, Space Applications Centre; and Dr George Koshy, Managing Director, PSLV-C11; were also felicitated.

Profile: Bill Gates

Bill Gates has created the world's largest company, he is the world's richest man and he has become the biggest charitable giver in history.

He may be a college drop-out and "computer geek" but rivals have often underestimated his abilities in the cut throat world of business.

Despite the wealth and ruthless domination of the global computer industry, Gates maintains it is the programming itself which is his abiding passion.

He stood down as chief executive of Microsoft in 2000, to focus on software development and the new challenges of the mobile internet age.

The one-time high school computer enthusiast - whose worth passed the $100bn mark in 1999 - said he wanted to immerse himself again in the work he loves most.

Early fascination

Gates has come to be known for his aggressive business tactics and confrontational style of management.

He, and his company, have attracted a vast army of critics and enemies in recent years as their domination of the IT world has grown.

He was born on 28 October, 1955, growing up with two sisters in Seattle. Their father, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney, and their late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher.

Gates began computing as a 13-year-old at the city's Lakeside school.

By the age of 17, he had sold his first program - a timetabling system for the school, earning him $4,200.

It was at Lakeside that he met fellow student Paul Allen, who shared his fascination with computers.

During Gates' stint at Harvard, the two teamed up to write the first computer language program written for a personal computer.

The PC's maker, MITS, liked their work and the two friends established Microsoft in 1975, so-called because it provided microcomputer software.

Self-made billionaire

A year later, Gates dropped out of Harvard, once it became clear that the possibilities for Microsoft were bright.

The big break came in 1980 when an agreement was signed to provide the operating system that became known as MS-DOS, for IBM's new personal computer.

In a contractual masterstroke, Microsoft was allowed to licence the operating system to other manufacturers, spawning an industry of "IBM-compatible" personal computers which depended on Microsoft's operating system.

That fuelled further growth, prompting the company to float in 1986, raising $61m.

Now a multi-millionaire, Allen had already stepped back from the frontline. But Gates continued to play the key role in the company's growth, with his vision for networked computers proving central to Microsoft's success.

However, his judgement has not always appeared flawless.

While sales and profits rocketed in the early 1990s, he was seen to have misjudged on a grand scale the possibilities and growth of the internet.

Outside of Microsoft he also has interests in biotech companies, sitting on the board of the Icos Corporation and has a stake in Darwin Molecular, a subsidiary of British-based Chiroscience.

Family man

He founded Corbis Corporation, which is developing a digital archive of art and photography from public and private collections around the globe.

His books, The Road Ahead and Business @ the Speed of Thought have both hit the best seller lists.

Gates married Melinda on New Year's Day 1994.Together they have three children - Jennifer Katharine, born in 1996, Rory John, born in 1999, and Phoebe Adele, born in 2002

He met his wife in 1987 at a Microsoft press event in Manhattan. She was working for the company and later became one of the executives in charge of interactive content.

Other interests listed on his official website are reading and playing golf and bridge.

Gates and Melinda have been giving increasing amounts of money to charity, with his father running a foundation.

It has been endowed with billions to support initiatives in the areas of global health and education.

It is the world's second richest philanthropic organisation, and within shouting distance of the world number one, The Wellcome Trust in the UK. 



BARAK OBAMA-From the Desk of Superintendent of

With the holidays upon us we take pause and think back over the past year and reflect on a year in which history was made in electing our first African-American as president and we look forward to a new year of hope and promise for an even better America. On January 20, 2009 we will again witness a crucial component of our democracy in which there is an orderly transition of power from President Geroge Bush to President Barak Obama, a time-tested tradition that has withstood over two centuries of American history.

We are exceptionally fortunate to have many rights and freedoms, many of which have come as a result of hardship and inequities that over time have been corrected through public protest or just because it was the right thing to do. Many throughout the world do not enjoy such rights and privileges that we often take for granted. Similarly, many children across the globe do not benefit from a system of public education and the opportunities it affords to succeed in life.

A well-educated public is the very foundation of democracy. The very future and well-being of our community and our country will rely upon the decisions made by today's children as we, in turn, pass the torch of leadership to future generations. Supporting public education will help ensure that students have the opportunity to learn both academically and socially and can graduate to become productive and educated citizens.

With the future as uncertain as ever, it becomes more important to make sure each child receives the best possible education we can offer and that our children have the support of everyone in the community. Over 95 percent of our future jobs will require at least a high school education and there is no question about the need for an educated work force. Our country will continue to grow and prosper but will also become more dependent upon strong public schools systems and the productivity of tomorrow's workforce and its leaders.

In Westbury, we are thankful that the community recognized our efforts and our students' success and approved the budget for the current school year. While we realize that not everyone favored the budget and the months ahead will present many difficult challenges, we remain committed to using your tax dollars wisely while providing the best public education our children have a right to.

On behalf of the administration, faculty, staff and the board of education of the Westbury School District, we wish you the very best for the holidays and look forward to welcoming a new chapter in our great land's history and a brighter future all across America and in our own community. We relish the challenges and all the many successes that the New Year will certainly bring and hope to continue working together, as one, living up to our societal responsibilities in making sure Westbury's children are afforded the best possible educational opportunities available.

Chandrayaan II design ready

New Delhi , Dec 24 (ANI): India's Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today said that the design for the country's second moon mission Chandrayaan II is ready.


Talking to the mediapersons here on the sidelines of a function organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to felicitate the members of the Chandrayaan I team, ISRO Chairman G.Madhavan Nair said that it is all set for a 2012 launch.


"Chandrayaan II, the design is complete, we hope by 2012, we will be ready for the launch," he added.


The launch of Chandrayaan-2, approved by the Indian government will include a rover that will land on the moon.


Chandrayaan plans to map a three-dimensional atlas of the moon, and the surface's chemical and mineral composition.


India hopes to send an astronaut into space by 2012 and a manned mission to the moon by 2020.


India started its space programme in 1963, developing its own satellites and launch vehicles to reduce dependence on overseas agencies.


At least 16 Indian satellites currently orbit the earth, supporting telecommunications, TV broadcasting, earth observation, weather forecasting, remote education and healthcare.


India's constellation of seven earth-observation satellites is the largest in the world. (ANI)


Chandrayaan II design complete

NEW DELHI: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday said that the design for Chandrayaan II has been completed and it will be 
 launched by 2012. "The designs for Chandrayaan II have been completed and we hope to launch it by 2012," ISRO chairperson G Madhavan Nair told reporters here on the sidelines of a function organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to felicitate the Chandrayaan I team. 

The Chandrayaan II project is slated to land a small rover on the moon's surface and collect and analyse samples, he said. 

The ISRO has made another achievement recently, when a commercial satellite built by the organisation for the European satellite operator, Eutelsat, was successfully launched from French Guiana in South America. 

Nair noted that the ISRO was earning about Rs 10 billion (Rs 1,000 crore) annually from its commercial wing. This is expected to grow at 20 percent per year, he added.

Isro eyes lunar landing in 2012, Mars mission in 2013

New Delhi: Buoyed by the success of Chandrayaan-I, space scientists now plan to conquer new frontiers by sending a robot on moon in 2012 and a spacecraft to Mars the following year which will also see an Indian astronaut in space.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has lined up a slew of missions which also include landing a spacecraft on an asteroid and sending a probe to fly past a comet.
Isro plans to send an Indian astronaut in space onboard a Russian mission in 2013 and follow it up with two Indian astronauts on a seven-day mission on an indigenously developed rocket in 2015.
India’s mission to Mars is at a conceptual stage right now, Isro Chairman G Madhavan Nair told PTI on the sidelines of a felicitation of the Chandrayaan-I team by CII.
“Next year we will be able to finalise and by 2013 it can take off,” he said.
Nair said the current Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), used to put communications satellites in orbit, will be used to launch the probe to Mars.
Isro also plan to launch a sequel to Chandrayaan-I, which will entail landing a rover robot on moon by 2012. The lunar rover will be built in collaboration with Russia.
“The design for Chandrayaan-II is ready,” Nair said.
Last year, Isro had sent to space a capsule which was recovered after keeping in orbit for 22 days. The Space Recovery Experiment (SRE) was seen as a technology demonstrator for future manned missions.

Chandrayaan II design complete

New Delhi, Dec 24 (IANS) The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Wednesday said the design for Chandrayaan II has been completed and it will be launched by 2012. “The designs for Chandrayaan II have been completed and we hope to launch it by 2012,” ISRO chairperson G. Madhavan Nair told reporters here on the sidelines of a function organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to felicitate the Chandrayaan I team.

The Chandrayaan II project is slated to land a small rover on the moon’s surface and collect and analyse samples, he said.

The ISRO has made another achievement recently, when a commercial satellite built by the organisation for the European satellite operator, Eutelsat, was successfully launched from French Guiana in South America.

Nair noted that the ISRO was earning about Rs.10 billion (Rs.1,000 crore) annually from its commercial wing. This is expected to grow at 20 percent per year, he added.